Flood events in Cape Girardeau County

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Water ran over the top of the Hubble Creek levee in Dutchtown Wednesday morning, and residents were told to leave their homes.

Roadblocks were set up on highways 25, 74 and Route A to keep motorists from driving into the water that covered large swaths of southern Cape Girardeau County.

At midafternoon, a Coast Guard helicopter was circling over Allenville, looking for Terry and Wanda Ross, who were stranded in a pickup truck in the small community, said daughter Tracie Ross as she stood on a bridge over the Diversion Channel about a half-mile away.

The Rosses were among a handful of people in the village of just over 100 who did not heed warnings to leave their homes as water spilled out of the Diversion Channel. The attempt at evacuating Allenville started about noon Tuesday, said Delta Fire Department chief Alvin Frank. "Everybody said, 'no, no, no,'" he said.

The effort resumed at 7 a.m. and by then, he said, residents were eager to leave. "Nobody wants to leave until water is coming in the front door," he said.

The flood was unlike any he had experienced, Frank said. "This is headwaters," he said. "The majority of the time we deal with backwater. This is up in 24 hours to what normally happens in three days."

In Cape Girardeau, attention was turning to preparations for the rising river. The river was rising about two inches an hour Wednesday evening, and the North Main Street Levee District will close its floodgate near the Red Star neighborhood, perhaps as early as today.

City officials suspended operations at the compost holding area at 453 Cooper St., where residents had been bringing debris from the February ice storm. Most, if not all, roads were open in the city and in Jackson, and life returned to normal for fire and rescue personnel.

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